Summary: And so it is finished . . . Jesus stayed the course to the finish, and what a finish it was! Victory on so many fronts! "Truly he was (is) the Son of God!" God made a way - the only way - for the salvation of repentant sinners! Amen!
MARK SERMON XII –TRAVESTY TO TRAGEDY – MARK 14:53---16:8
Series Within A Series
PART SIX – THREE O’CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON – “WHY?”
From the travesty of a trial to the tragedy of being nailed to a tree, Jesus died at three in the afternoon, but not before He had cried out to God the Father, asking “Why” - Mark 15:33-39 . . .
Why do you suppose Jesus questioned God? Would you agree he did so because of his humanity? After all, we have learned from years of Bible study that the Son of God was also Son of man.
Our Lord’s divine nature was evidenced by the power of God at work in His birth, His life and ministry, and later His resurrection.
Our Lord’s human nature was essential for being birthed by a woman as we all were, the difference being that his mother was the virgin Mary . . . for His being tempted in every way that we are, the difference being that He never sinned . . . for going through life’s valleys like we all do . . . in order for him to experience physical death, which is the only door through which any of us can depart this life and enter into the glory of heaven – the exception being those who are here when Jesus comes again.
In his humanity, therefore, Jesus cried out and asked God why. It’s a question we all have asked from time to time when it seemed that, due to a tragic event or debilitating illness, God had abandoned us - and we asked, “Why?”
All of us have gone through those nightmarish experiences - when the dark clouds of gloom and doom hung over our heads. We wondered if we would ever again see the light of God’s love, let alone the light of a new day.
Yet, eventually we began to realize that all was not lost and that by and by, whether here or there, things would turn out okay for true believers.
Jesus had endured all that one man could possibly endure. He had suffered the failure of friends . . . the hatred of foes . . . the malice of his own people. He had gone through experiences of that no criminal, let alone an innocent man, should ever go through.
Hanging on that Cross of shame, with a crown of thorns piercing his head, blood gushing from a wound caused by a spear thrust into his side, legs broken, skin stretched and torn by spikes through his hands and feet, the divine yet human sacrificial Lamb of God, Savior of mankind, breathed his last breath as he uttered, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
At that very moment, we are told that the large temple curtain that separated ordinary people from the Holy of Holies – an off-limits sanctuary that, in Jewish worship, represented the actual presence of God - was ripped down the middle, symbolizing in a most dramatic fashion the opening of direct access of all people to the throne of God.
Observing all of this was a Roman centurion - one of the soldiers who had participated in the crucifixion of Jesus.
Realizing that the man they had nailed to the Cross was no ordinary being and that a supernatural power was at work, the centurion issued a statement that every person on the face of God’s earth must take note of and make it their own – IF they expect to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Savior: “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
The insight of this hardened military veteran into what had happened at Calvary, and the conviction that led him to a personal confession of the true identity of Jesus represents the effect that the crucifixion ought to have on everybody who hears about, or is confronted by, the Christ of the Cross.
In our humanity, though, we cannot help but ask, “Why did Jesus have to die - for truly he was the Son of God!”
When the Apostle Paul came face to face with the reality of who Jesus really was, he was converted from chief persecutor of Christians to the chief propagator of the gospel which he summed up in one statement:
“Jesus the Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, and on the third day he was raised from in accordance with the Scriptures.”
From Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures tell us at length why all of this happened: Because God is holy, He could not condone His creation’s willful disobedience. Because God is just, sin had to be reckoned with; thus, death – both physical and spiritual – became a reality, “for the wages of sin is death.”